- Community Connect
- Welcoming Communities
- Arts, Culture and Heritage
- Citizenship Ceremonies
- Community Associations and Groups
- Community Funding
- Community Research
- Community Wellbeing
- Economic Development
- Emergency Management
- Energy Saving Tips
- Event Planning and Venues
- Māori Community
- Population and Demand
- Venue Hire
Weather Event - September 2023
Get the latest advice and information on the September weather event affecting the Queenstown Lakes District.
The district is currently under a 28 day Transition Period to assist with the recovery from the severe weather event. This period will run until 3pm 21st October 2023 but can be extended.
QLDC has activated a Recovery Team that is leading the following recovery projects:
Restoration of Ben Lomond Reserve
Restoration of Queenstown Cemetery
Brecon Street Hazard Management
Reavers Lane Hazard Management
Information and updates on each project will be provided as they progress.
On the night of 22 September a 25 year-high rainfall event resulted in localised flooding, debris flows and land instability across the district.
At 9pm Thursday the QLDC Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) was activated and together with emergency services, contractors and volunteers from the community, the EOC responded to the following challenges:
112 residents were evacuated from the Brecon St (68 people) and Reavers Lane (41 people) areas to the Queenstown Memorial Centre where they were triaged and provided with welfare support and emergency accommodation.
Response to and clean-up of significant debris flows and flooding behind Queenstown Cemetery, Reavers Lane, Fryer Street, Hamilton Road and Brecon Street.
Response to a sewerage overflow at the Frankton Track.
In Glenorchy, significant rainfall meant the Glenorchy lagoon was at risk of overtopping. A Community Emergency Hub was set up at the Glenorchy School to support if evacuations were required.
At 6:33am a Local State of Emergency was declared to help manage the evacuation and cordons, and any escalating risk to public safety.
A programme of Rapid Building Assessments was conducted in the aftermath of the event, with a number of red and yellow placards issued.
A wide number of road closures, cordons, repair work and cleanup operations were undertaken by contractors across the district.
Geotech assessments of the slip areas was conducted to establish the level of risk of further mobilisation.
The culvert at the top of Reavers Lane was assessed and cleaned out along with silt and spoil from surrounding areas.
By Saturday 23rd the properties with red placards had been lifted with three yellow placards remaining.
A decision to terminate the State of Local Emergency was made at 3pm and the district then moved into a local Transition Period with a focus on support community recovery.
As of Saturday, the state of emergency has been lifted, signaling our transition from immediate response to the recovery phase. Below is a summary of our progress as of 4.00pm, Sunday:
Brecon Street Businesses: All businesses, including Skyline Queenstown, are now operational.
Ziptrek Ecotours: Tours have resumed and are operating normally.
Ben Lomond Reserve: Three central Queenstown properties have yellow placards restricting access and we're ensuring support for those affected.
Frankton Trail: The Frankton Trail has reopened. The area affected by wastewater has been sanitised but some cautionary signage remains in place.
Queenstown Cemetery: Part of the Queenstown Cemetery affected by debris has been fenced off and is out of bounds. The remainder is open to the public again and further information can be found here.
Central Queenstown Properties: Three properties in the central area are currently displaying yellow placards, limiting access. Our team is actively providing support to the affected individuals.
Emergency Operations Centre: As we shift our focus to recovery, operations are scaling down. Once again, our profound thanks to every individual who stepped up to aid during this emergency.Close
Queenstown is recovering well after the localised state of emergency was lifted this afternoon.
Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Glyn Lewers and Minister for Emergency Management Hon Kieran McAnulty have thanked the local community for their resilience after a severe weather event at the end of last week, and praised all those involved in the response for their efforts.
Both spoke to the community via a media stand-up in Queenstown this afternoon, alongside Emergency Operations Centre Controller – and QLDC Acting Chief Executive – Tony Avery, Paula Enoka from NZ Police and Roger Ball, Manager National Operations at NEMA (National Emergency Management Agency).
“I’m pleased to confirm that the local state of emergency was lifted at 3.00pm this afternoon and Queenstown is open for business. The skies are clear, the weather forecast is fine and there’s fresh snow on the mountains,” said Mayor Lewers following the stand-up.
“Most importantly, I’d like to acknowledge and thank the people who have been managing our collective response. From the QLDC team to civil defence, emergency responders and contractors it has been a truly collaborative effort with many people working through the day and night to respond to a quickly-evolving situation.”
“There is still work to be done but the impacted areas are contained and we’re now able to transition to recovery.”
A priority will be restoration work at Queenstown Cemetery. Around one third of the cemetery has been affected by slips caused by heavy rain and the whole cemetery remains closed to ensure public safety.
QLDC’s Parks and Reserves team which manages cemeteries in the district is continuing to assess the area and contacting families of damaged graves personally to offer reassurance. They are endeavouring to reopen most of the cemetery in the coming days.
All residents for whom QLDC has been organising temporary accommodation have been allowed to return home after the completion of building assessments. Some buildings are still yellow-stickered but these are either non-residential properties or not currently occupied.
All roads and streets in the centre of Queenstown have reopened. Elsewhere in the district, SH6 between Makarora and Haast, Tobins Track and the backcountry Von Road remain closed.
Some tracks (including Frankton Track), trails and reserves across the district also remain fully or partially closed. Please observe all signage.
Skyline Queenstown will be open for business tomorrow morning after a health and safety assessment was provided to QLDC this afternoon. Access to the gondola will be restricted to visitors to the Skyline facilities, and the mountain bike uplift service will not be available until further notice.
The mountain biking tracks in the Ben Lomond Reserve, including the Queenstown Mountain Bike Park, are closed to the general public. Riders should not attempt to access the trails either by gondola or other means. Health and safety assessments of the trail network are required so that a plan of action can be implemented, and the mountain bike tracks opened. Specific updates will be provided in the coming days.
A further general update on the will be provided tomorrow (Sunday, 24 September).Close
The state of local emergency in Queenstown, originally declared on Friday morning after a severe weather event, has been lifted. However, the emergency operation centre will continue to operate and some restrictions will remain in place to protect public safety as the focus turns to recovery.
Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Glyn Lewers’ official statement is as follows: “I am now terminating the state of local emergency with regard to Queenstown, within the Otago CDEM Group Area, and giving notice of a [28 day] transition period over Queenstown within [the area].”
There remains no public access to Queenstown Cemetery (or Ben Lomond Reserve) for safety reasons. QLDC’s Parks and Reserves team continues to liaise closely with religious groups and iwi in order to provide updates to those concerned about loved ones’ graves.
All roads and streets in the centre of Queenstown have reopened with the exception of Glenorchy-Queenstown Rd between One Mile roundabout and Sunshine Bay (detour via Fernhill Rd). Elsewhere in the district, Paradise Road, SH6 between Makarora and Haast, and Mount Aspiring Rd at Glenfinnan Bluffs all remain closed.
Some tracks, trails and reserves across the district also remain fully or partially closed. Please observe all signage.
More information will be provided after the media stand-up with Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Glyn Lewers and Minister for Emergency Management Hon Kieran McAnulty beginning at 5.15pm today.Close
The weather outlook is positive with dry conditions forecast for the next few days. There is no rain forecast until Tuesday. Crews continue to work to clean up the debris left behind following the weather event, and access has been reinstated to many roads, with priority given to Isle Street, Robins Road, Duke Street, Shotover Street, and Camp Street in Queenstown. Reavers Lane and Hamilton Road are now open to traffic.
Brecon Street remains closed this morning whilst crews continue to clean up and assess the road. The current cordon at the intersection of Brecon and Isle Streets remains in place for safety reasons. The team is continuing to evaluate an appropriate approach to allow affected businesses at the top of Brecon Street to reopen safely.
Parts of the Queenstown Cemetery have been affected by slips caused by heavy rain over the last two days. Our immediate priority is ensuring safe access and an assessment of the area is underway. We understand that many people in our community will be concerned about potential damage to their loved ones’ graves in Queenstown Cemetery after the recent weather event.
The emergency management and QLDC Parks and Reserves teams are liaising closely with religious groups and iwi. We would like to remind people that there is currently no public access for safety reasons. We appreciate the distress this is likely to be causing to those friends and family members affected and we will provide further updates to the community as soon as we possibly can.
Building inspections have been completed in a localised area of Reavers Lane. Last night, 10 properties were red-stickered and two properties yellow stickered. While good progress has been made to divert water in the area to a manhole, further work is required today to clear a blocked culvert at the base of the catchment. Once this work is completed later today further assessments of the properties will take place.
Initially 55 people were evacuated. Staff have been in touch with affected residents and access has been reinstated for many. There are now 15 people who have not yet been able to return to their properties. Accommodation and support is being provided to those affected.
Several roads are still closed around Queenstown and the wider district, with more affected by surface flooding and debris. Up to date information is available on QLDC’s website: https://www.qldc.govt.nz/weather-event-sep23Close
Here’s our evening update regarding the state of emergency in Queenstown.
Council officials have been working closely with geotechnical engineers to determine a safe approach to clearing debris on Upper Brecon Street. We’re evaluating weather forecasts and expert advice to build an appropriate approach to allowing affected businesses at the top of Brecon Street to reopen safely.
The current cordon at the intersection of Brecon and Isle Street will remain in place overnight for safety reasons.
We recognize many in the community will be concerned about potential damage to loved ones’ graves in the Queenstown Cemetery after the recent weather event. Our Emergency Operations Centre Controller, and Community Services General Manager, Ken Bailey has made the following comment:
“Parts of the cemetery have been affected by slips caused by heavy rain since yesterday. There is currently no public access for safety reasons while inspections continue. The emergency management and QLDC Parks and Reserves teams are liaising closely with religious groups and iwi. We appreciate the distress this is likely to be causing to those friends and family members affected and we will provide further updates to the community as soon as we possibly can.”
As we move into Saturday, our next steps are to clear debris from one side of Brecon Street (adjacent to Kingpin and neighbouring businesses) to provide safe pedestrian access. The other side of the road will be cordoned off while we work to further assess and safely clear the area. A barrier will be in place to maintain pedestrian safety.
Naturally, our current approach relies on continued dry conditions – which we’re forecast to get over the coming days. However, in case of further heavy rain, we’ll reinstate the cordon at the Isle and Brecon Street intersection.
Crews are also making good progress at Reavers Lane to divert water to a manhole, but we’ve got more work to do clearing a blocked culvert at the base of the catchment. Staff have been in touch with the remaining affected properties in the area, and access to each property has been reinstated.
We’ll be back tomorrow morning with an update on how the response is progressing. Read more on this update here: https://www.qldc.govt.nz/2023/september/23-09-22-5-30pm-update-from-qldc-regarding-state-of-emergency-in-queenstownClose
Photo 1 of 4
Photo 2 of 4
Photo 3 of 4
Photo 4 of 4